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High court declares Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse’s removal unconstitutional and invalid

High court declares Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse’s removal unconstitutional and invalid
Reinstatred Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse outside South Gauteng High Court on 19 October 2022. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle)

Court sets aside all decisions so far taken by mayor Dada Morero, who was sworn in on 30 September.

The Gauteng High Court has ruled for former Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse and declared unconstitutional and invalid the motion of no confidence by which she was ousted on 29 September.  

Judge Raylene Keightley agreed with Phalatse that the case was urgent, and reinstated her, according to the DA’s interpretation of the judgment, on Tuesday, 25 October.  

Dada Morero’s election as Johannesburg mayor by the council has been declared unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid. Consequently all decisions taken by the ANC’s Morero have been declared unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid and are reviewed and set aside, said Judge Keightley. 

This order has been suspended for 11 days so that the city manager can apply for specific parts of it to be appealed, presumably those that impact the running of the city of six million people. 

“Stripped of the drama of plots, subterfuge and counter-subterfuge, this is precisely what is before me in this matter: essentially, the simple question is whether the decisions and conduct of the role players in the motion of no confidence procedure fell within the scope of their lawful powers. If so, the review must fail, regardless of the political affiliations of those who backed, or opposed the motion. Similarly, if not, the impugned decisions and conduct must be reviewed, and a just and equitable remedy granted by this court. Ultimately, then, the issues before me are constitutional, rather than political in nature, albeit that they arise, and must be considered, in a political context,” said Keightley in her judgment. 

Johannesburg City Council Speaker Colleen Makhubele is a single-seat representative of Cope who tried to oust her after she turned coat on the city’s multiparty government and sided with the ANC who gifted her the coveted position.  

“The issue here is very simple, we wanted a balance of power. Currently, there are two major players in the coalition which is the DA and ActionSA and now all the smaller parties are being treated like stepkids and they are basically bullied. When this motion came about from minorities from the opposition benches saying that they want to remove the Speaker, we saw this as an opportunity to balance the power. Instead of having one party in a coalition that has a mayor, speaker and chief whip, it leads them to bully us in a way. We were trying to balance the power,” Magwentshu said. 

The councillor explained that the ATM had been excluded from the national coalition structure which was responsible for the decision-making of the metro which he deems to be unacceptable. 

“Ideally those platforms are supposed to be there. At the local level, they are there but decisions are not really being taken at that level. They are taken at a national level and ATM is not involved. We do not have a say in what is happening there. 

The ANC was supported by the EFF in the motion of no confidence and when the Patriotic Alliance voted for the motion, power changed hands in the city. This judgment has changed the landscape again.  

Read in Daily Maverick: “A dramatic Friday as City of Joburg elects Dada Morero as mayor after Mpho Phalatse gets the chop” 

At the weekend, the Sunday Times revealed that Phalatse had wanted to offer the EFF a council committee in return for its support, but that party federal boss Helen Zille put the kibosh on the idea.

In a statement, Phalatse welcomed the ruling, saying it was a victory for the rule of law and the residents of Joburg. DM



Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    The tiny parties say that they were “bullied” by the bigger DA and ActionSA. So they defected to the ANC run coalition. Do they really think that the ANC will not bully them? So one tiny party defects to the ANC and gets a seat (probably part of the deal). How long will it take for the bullying by the ANC starts? Probably when the tiny party asks for more. In a democracy tiny parties have tiny power. In SA they sell their votes and soul to the highest bidder, the ANC.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Good for Joh’burg. I can only hope that the DA has learnt their lesson and that they will drop this idea that national leaders organise coalitions on councillors behalf when the Constitution gives the right to decision making to the individual councillors themselves. I would say that the national political parties can deliberate & agree on a process to be used by councillors of prospective coalition partners in a council to work out principles to govern the functioning of a coalition, and to hand it to their respective members of the said council. After that all the councillors to form part of a coalition must join in a process of working out those principles. So the politicial parties can be very useful as a facilitator of the coalition process, but it can only be in a consultative/advisory basis. Then it is up to the about 140 councillors to work out a workable relationship, and to apply it. I sincerely hope the dr. Phalatsi will affect something to this regard and that the political parties will respect the right of the councillors to represent their constituencies. From what I have heard, it seems that Retief Odendaal in Nelson Mandela Bay acted more or less like that, and it seems to be working, although it is still early days.

  • William Stucke says:

    Halfway through this article is a quotation from one “Magwentshu”.

    Who? Why? Some careless editing, methinks.

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